Prof to lead research project with TV tech company

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Engineering professor Zhou Wang will lead a new research partnership between the University of Waterloo and entertainment technology company TiVo.

The partnership is scheduled to begin with a project involving the investigation of methods to enhance user quality-of-experience for 360-degree omnidirectional video on head-mounted devices.

“Dr. Wang is a celebrated academic and the opportunity to embark on this research presents a unique way for TiVo to innovate on the innovation process itself,” Arvin Patel, chief intellectual property officer for TiVo, said in a media release.

Zhou Wang is a professor of electrical and computer engineering.

Zhou Wang is a professor of electrical and computer engineering.

Wang, a professor of electrical and computer engineering, conducts research in areas including signal and image processing, computational vision and pattern analysis, multimedia coding and communications, and biomedical signal and image processing.

He is a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair and a University Research Chair, and has won honors including a television Emmy Award for developing computational models that accurately and consistently predict how people view image and video quality.

“Streaming 360-degree omnidirectional video to head-mounted devices for the best viewer experience is extremely challenging, not only due to the excessive data throughput requirement to enable high resolution and high frame rate visual presentation, but also because of our limited understanding on how to best assess and enhance the quality-of-experience of end users,” Wang said in the release. “We appreciate TiVo’s support for this project, which allows us to explore this exciting research direction and opens the opportunity to make an impact in the real world.”

Future work will involve developing perceptual encoding and streaming methods to improve performance, resulting in contributions to the practical use and standardization of 360-degree omnidirectional videos used in, among other applications, immersive content experiences.

TiVo bills itself as “the company that brings entertainment together” with technology that helps users find and watch movies, shows and videos from across live TV, on-demand, streaming services and countless apps.